Welcome to From The Upper Deck, my blog about RSL and soccer in general. I have a lot of passion for the beautiful game. I am just a fan that likes to sit in the upper deck and take it all in.

Friday, August 2, 2013

RSL Family Part 3- Brian Dunseth and Andy Williams

In part 3 of my series on the RSL Family (see part 1 and 2) , I get the perspective of Brian Dunseth and Andy Williams.

I spoke with Dunseth about a variety of different topics about a month ago and I also asked him the same question that I have asked everyone else to this point. "What does the RSL Family mean to you?"

Dunseth has a unique view. As a former player, he played on many different teams in the league. In his broadcast career, he has continued to travel around and has a very good understand what other teams are like. And as the color commentator for the team, he has an inside knowledge of the players and what goes on in the locker room. Here is what he had to say:
"It's very unique and I think what it is is an us vs. them mentality at it's core. This is a club that has never had a lot of money to spend off the field until Dell Loy (Hansen) came in. It's a club that you rarely see on national television. You start with a coaching staff that is all former players; the general manager is a former player, the president is a former GM. You have this built in soccer knowledge of how things should be. How things could be perfect.
Then there are the players, the cornerstones, the Rimando's, the Wingert's, the Beckerman's, the Borchers, the Will Johnson's just to name a few. They created a culture and atmosphere to allow players like Javier Morales to quickly come into the group. The culture is right and now there is an accountability. It is one thing for a coach to hold players accountable. It is another for the players themselves to hold the team accountable. I just think that it is the perfect storm."
In continuing to talk to him, I mention that I thought the RSL Family really changed when the news came out about Andy Williams' wife, Marcia's battle with leukemia. He continued on:
"I think the roots were there and I agree that Andy and Marcia were the spark to make everything a little bit stronger. But again, you have good kids in the locker room. You've got guys that keep their nose clean outside the locker room and in their personal life. They are all just good people.
I have played with a lot of teams and have been around a lot of teams and I can honestly say if I were to choose an organization that I would want to be with long term, it is this organization. That is not to play the homer card, not to play the former player card, it is just honesty. I watch the way that Jason (Kreis) runs practice. I watch the way that Garth (Lagerwey) and Bill (Manning) handle the players off the field. The commitment that Dell Loy has shown financially has been fantastic. There is a built in culture at this point that separates this team from a lot of teams in Major League Soccer."
I recently had the chance to talk to Andy Williams about his role as the team's head scout (blog post to come). But I also asked him about his thoughts on the RSL family.
"I think it blew up to a bigger deal with my situation with Marcia. I think as a team we were pretty close, but we kind of kept it in house. Once it became public with her situation, the fans and the front office got more and more involved and they opened up a lot more. I think that really kickstarted the entire RSL Family where you have all the fans consider themselves as family. But like what I said before the team is pretty close internally in the locker room and on and off the field. And now it is like RSL Family 2.0."
I mentioned the fact that it is fun to see the RSL Academy kids also refer to themselves as the RSL Family.
"It starts with Jason. When we are down there for preseason with the academy guys they get to mingle with the first team. They get to practice with the first team. The key is that the first team players don't treat them any different. They don't treat them like kids. They are wearing RSL gear and are representing RSL. The kids love that and buy into it. It is like an infectious disease. The fans have taken into it and the entire kids down there have enjoyed it. That is probably one of the reasons that they have been so successful down there."
I just want to thank both Brian and Andy for their thoughts on the subject.

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